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Last updated October 26, 2014.

OFA Eye Certification Registry Exams

Purebred dogs have inherited eye diseases that can be blinding or affect eye health.  In an effort to limit or eradicate genetic ocular diseases, the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) organization collect data on breeding dogs and issues certificates determining a dog's fitness for breeding.  The Genetics Committee of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) determines the guidelines for OFA eye certification and regularly evaluates and recommends how dogs should be bred, depending on their eye exam status.  CERF no longer accepts eye certification forms and has discontinued their eye registry.

Eye Examination Process

Dogs can receive a OFA Eye Certification examination at their veterinary eye specialist's hospital, or at local OFA Eye Certification clinics that are frequently held at dog shows, general veterinary practices or at breed clubs.  Only specialists in veterinary ophthalmology who are Diplomates of the ACVO can do an OFA Eye Certification Registry exam (see FAQs for more information on DACVO). 

Dogs can be examined at most ages (ideally older than 8 weeks) and an OFA Eye Certification Registry certificate is valid for 1 year after the examination.  Breeding animals should be examined annually, even after they have stopped breeding, in order to look for genetic eye diseases.

Eye exams are typically done after the pupils have been dilated and in a darkened room.  Drops are given to dilate the eyes and take 30 minutes to work.  The front part of the eye is examined with a slit-lamp biomicroscope and retina and back part of the eye is examined with lenses and a indirect ophthalmoscope.  The exam itself typically takes several minutes.

The pupils can remain dilated for several hours after the exam, so dogs should be kept out of the bright sunlight after an exam.

OFA Eye Certification Registry forms

Before the exam, the dog's owner is given a form at our hospital to complete with information on:
 
1)  the owner (name, address)
2)  the dog (name, breed, birth date, AKC registration number, tattoo or microchip identification number)

After the examination, the veterinary ophthalmologist will complete the form and indicate any eye abnormalities.  The owner will then be given a page to submit to OFA Eye Certification Registry with a fee in order to obtain a certificate.  OFA Eye Certification Registry determines the suitability of each given dog for breeding based on the eye examination findings.